An open plea to MGM to STOP releasing FULL FRAME ONLY discs of WIDESCREEN titles. All members help!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Allred, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    While I don’t pretend to understand MGM’s business model, it is a reasonable guess that based on other titles similar to the ones just released, not enough DVDs have been sold to recover the costs of producing DVDs in both widescreen and fullscreen formats. And further that the preferred format is fullscreen.

    Now as to the preference of the consumer of fullscreen over widescreen, it would be interesting to know if this is really a consumer preference or a business preference of outlets like some of the major rental and retail sales chains. That is, is the preference seen by MGM related to all DVDs or is it also representative of these more specialized titles.

    Here I would challenge MGM to defend their decision from a business perspective. Leaving aside any artistic considerations, has their past experience shown a consumer preference (for these specialized titles) for fullscreen over widescreen and further does the data include only free consumer choices or does it also include purchases and rentals made from outlets where only one choice is available.

    I suspect that there may be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy at work here: since there are many retail outlets where the choice is limited or strongley biased towards fullscreen, then it follows that consumers buying and renting from these places will mostly buy fullscreen.

     
  2. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    I think I can safely say that MGM has more films in its vault that I am interested in buying than any other studio.

    The entire United Artists library is ripe for DVD release. For example: La Cage Aux Folles (1978) is ripe for an anamorphic release.

    To echo others, if a film is not released in OAR, then I am not interested in buying (no matter how low the price point).
     
  3. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    Talking about consumer "demand" for full screen, whether it be for high profile titles or B-list discs, I always notice something interesting...

    Look at the weekly top 10 chart for DVD sales.

    How often does the FS outsell it's WS counterpart? Rarely.

    Even weeks after a DVD is released, the WS version is *still* in the top 10 whereas the FS has dropped out of sight.

    I think it's pretty clear that WS is the prefered format....just going by sales any way (which is what the studios will always look at...the bottom line.)
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    And don't forget that Blockbuster recently
    erupted the retail snobs (Walmart and Target) by
    announcing it favored Widescreen over Pan
    and Scan
    .

    It's a myth that Full Screen outsells Widescreen,
    but yet some studios still feel the need to cater
    to the diminishing pan-and-scan consumer.
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Ron, I agree fully with what you've written. I do not pretend to understand why, today in 2003 (nearly '04) six years after DVD debuted and OAR being commonly accepted as the standard, MGM would choose to release fullscreen versions only.

    Dear MGM, please note this very simple message:

    No OAR = No Sale

    By the way MGM, OAR means Original Aspect Ratio, which means the aspect ratio it was shown in during its theatrical run. I know that's common knowledge here but apparently I can't take anything for granted with your company.
     
  6. Eugene Esterly

    Eugene Esterly Supporting Actor

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    Dear MGM,

    Don't get me wrong, I like your studio. In fact, I like your studio a lot because you have a huge amount of movies which I love, it's just that I don't like what your studio is doing recently which is releasing movies in full screen instead of OAR.

    MGM, instead of just releasing movies in full screen, IMO, it would be a good idea to release the movie in just Widescreen & if it can't be done, why not go back to the old way of putting Widescreen on one side & full screen on the other side. For example, movies such as The Fog, Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, Last House On The Left, Princess Bride (the original 2000 release, I don't own the special edition), UHF have Widescreen on one side & fullscreen on the other side.

    MGM could also put both movies on the same side also, For example, Mad Max: Special Edition & Legally Blonde have Widescreen & Full screen on the same side & special features are on the other side.

    MGM, Please, release all of your movies on DVD in their OAR. Also, MGM, please go thru your catalog of movies which have been released on DVD in full screen & please re-release them in OAR, movies such as Pumpkinhead, et al are on DVD but only in full screen.

    MGM, I am glad that you are re-releasing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang this year in Widescreen &, IMO, it's time that you also start re-releasing the other full screen DVD's in their OAR.
     
  7. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    this is clearly a step backwards.
    as people have mentioned wide is outselling full, blockbuster has gone wide.

    really what is the point in selling these movies only as full frame releases.
    mgm has to be called on the carpet for this decision.

    really they don't have to answer to me, but they do have to answer to all those who have supported this format from the beginning.
    and those are the people who buy these smaller titles and only buy them in the oar.
    especially when you consider the other studios have committed to the original aspect ratio.
    why, mgm have you chosen to move backwards and are not forward thinking as the other studios are?
    the future of this format is widescreen oar.
     
  8. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Screenwriter

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    Ron, when you spoke with MGM, did you get any kind of idea as to why this was being done?

    And why are they surprised at some the admittedly sometimes overboard negativity? If they were to release the Bond films in pan and scan only, the outroar would be deafening, and even nastier, all for the exact same reason fans of these MARed releases are angry. It's a pretty simple concept. Release a film that has a solid following in a less than quality manner, the fans of those films will be angry.
    They can (understandably)take great offense over some of our more nasty feedback, but why not try and correct the problem as well?

    I just wish they would open up some sort of a line of communciation with the enthusiast community, as many other studios, both bigger and smaller, have. Even if they made decisions we disagree with, giving us a reason, an explanation, or even a "no comment" would bring them a lot more goodwill with the community than their current oath of silence. Perhaps a chat like WB, Fox, Paramount, New Line, and others continue to participate in.

    Don't feel too bad, Ron. A lot of us went overboard.... then again, unless things change with MGM, maybe we didn't go overboard enough.
     
  9. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    The only reason that I can imagine that MGM wants to continue to put out MAR'd releases is that they are in a self-destruct mode, and expect to lose money by having them issued that way.

    I have a feeling that the sales of the new CCBB are going to skyrocket, though. I'd sure like to hear them explain this at their next board meeting!

    Glenn
     
  10. EricK

    EricK Second Unit

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    MGM:

    If it is not in its original aspect ratio as the filmakers created it and intended that it is a NO SALE.

    No 16x9 = no sale.


    Thanks, Eric.
     
  11. Matt Shiv

    Matt Shiv Agent

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    While I won't be "nasty", I feel that it's important that MGM realize that there are lots of consumers like me who find this situation frustrating and confusing. While I do not have a 16X9 display yet in my home theater, I look forward to the day that I do. Even when I was watching movies in my dorm room on a 13" inch television, I have always wanted to watch movies at home the way they were filmed.

    While I understand that there are more mainstream dvd consumers these days, I have to agree with many posters here who note that many of these titles are only going to target a small dedicated group of people who are serious fans of the film. Those are exactly the people who are going to want to buy the movie only if it is in widescreen.

    I feel lucky that MGM has only released one film that I really wanted in full screen. That was "Music For Another Room." As much as I wanted to add this title to my collection, I voted with my wallet. If it was impossible to remaster this title and create a widescreen version for dvd, I don't understand why it was released at all.

    Personally, it doesn't matter if the movie is 'budget' priced or not...if it isn't in widescreen I don't want to watch it or add it to my collection (which is reaching 600 titles, even on my limited budget!).

    MGM has certainly done right by some of my favorite films. I have no ill will towards them as a company. I just wonder why their release schedule is consistently so broad and varied if they aren't going to bother to release good quality versions.

    In the end, I hope that poor sales figures on these titles prove our point.
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  13. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Things are only going to get nastier if they keep 1)Releasing compromised product, and 2) Convering their ears and humming when would-be buyers complain.

    I'm not trying to be rude, MGM, but if you want my money, you have to put out a quality product. And as a movie buff, "quality product" means:

    -Every film must be presented in its original aspect ratio.
    -Every widescreen transfer must be enhanced for 16x9 display devices.
    -Be willing to take criticism from the people you're trying to sell stuff to [​IMG]
     
  14. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    And 16x9 goes for 1.66:1 as well... [​IMG]


    p.s. on an up-note...is everyone else as excited as me about the forth-coming 16x9 WS Chitty Chitty Bang Bang SE!!!??? [​IMG]
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  16. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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    Ron,

    I closely watched the Remo Williams thread which is what I am sure you (and MGM) are commenting on and I would like to say that I support you in what you said. When I read it I fully felt that the comments were "out of character" for you because of the "public nature" in which it was presented. However; once I took a few moments to think about it I felt that your comments were right on!

    While they could be construed as "nasty" or "harsh" I felt that a message needed to be sent to MGM (and anyone else for that matter) that the supporters of the OAR format were unhappy. While you could have been nicer (ie sometimes you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar) it often takes a sledge hammer upside the head (or a falling log against a Jeep :wink: ) to wake some folks up!

    Certainly MGM can be upset with the "harshness" of your tone but I don't think they should take it personally. I have to admit that I am as irritated about this as others on the forum but on a side note there are tons of other releases out there that are currently taking up my money [​IMG]. It just means that MGM is not getting much of it because of this issue.

    In summary MGM listen to our words, please!!

    Thanks

    Greg
     
  17. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Yep. I don't recall any response from them to any other questions/comments. At least this apparently got their attention.

    We repeatedly ask why they're doing what they're doing because it seems entirely illogical and serves no purpose other than alienating their primary consumers for these small, cult catalog titles. Is it any wonder when after months (years?) of non-responses we get a little testy when the same mistakes continue to be made with release after release?

    Most of these studios have huge marketing departments spending lots of cash on market research. You'd think they'd be happy for the freely offered feedback (apparently they are if they're taking the time to read the threads anyway) from the most fanatical supporters of the format.
     
  18. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    There are a lot of full-frame MGM DVDs that haven't caught my attention because I'm not a fan (Real Men being one of them). But when Miracle Mile -- which has never been seen in WS on home video -- and Gator/White Lightning -- which were released on LD by MGM OAR (1.66/2.35) -- were released full-frame without any explanation, ti got my blood a-boiling. I am consistently impressed and depressed by MGM in equal measures. The Howling SE is great and their Midnite Movies line is consistently strong.

    But how does something like Troll 1 and 2 get a new 16x9 transfer while we're denied OAR presentations of movies like Miracle Mile that have a huge cult following? I can't be the only one who's held this in my hands, only to sadly put it back on the shelf after sticking to my guns not to by P&S transfers.
     
  19. John Stockton

    John Stockton Second Unit

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    I was extremely disappointed when MGM released Summer Lovers in Pan&Scan. That film was shot in 2.35:1 ratio which really enhanced the scenery of the exotic Greek islands. Of course the DVD was a NO SALE for me.

    What is Ironic is that MGM released a similar type of film, Blame it on Rio in OAR with 16x9 enhancement.

    No OAR = No Sale
     
  20. George See

    George See Second Unit

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    This has got to be the worst news i've heard in regards to DVD Releases ever, seriously Real Men is in my top 5. I never saw it in the theater, i'd love to see the whole movie for once, not a cropped pan and scan version. I've already gotten all the nasty remarks out my system venting to anyone who will listen, but i've really been looking forward to this release...i've even emailed MGM on several occasions asking about it i've posted in a lot of threads on this forum asking which movies do you want on dvd. I don't expect special features I knew i'd never get them, but no widescreen is just downright depressing. MGM if your listening I would gladly pay the price of a full priced dvd to get widescreen. I'll buy widescreen for 29.99 i won't buy full screen for 14.99 sorry but I just can't support this treatment of this film.
     

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